Whether you live along the Emerald Coast or love to vacation here, there are a variety of ways to support your favorite small businesses in Destin and on 30A! The holiday season can be filled with ads from Amazon, Target and other large retailers, but I love to use this gift giving season to support local stores, restaurants and entrepreneurs. There are many spots where you can shop for traditional gifts, but don’t forget about giving a service or experience to your loved ones, too! From a photography session or luxury picnic to a boat ride or pasta making class, here are some creative gift ideas that will also bring joy to the small business owners in our community!
- Salty Scents. Candles are always a great gift and Salty Scents hand pours their products locally in Fort Walton Beach. They use natural soy wax for all of the candles and melts, so they are non-toxic and provide a clean, soot-free burn. Here is a look at the holiday collection!
- Frill Seekers. Known for personalized items with southern style, this beautiful boutique offers a great selection of unique gifts, coastal decor, invitations, fine stationery, entertaining essentials and more. Engraving, embroidery, embossing, printing and hot stamping are part of their list of specialties. To make gift giving even simpler, they have pre-made gift baskets and boxes. Plus it’s owned by a local mother-daughter duo!
- 30A Mama. Jami Ray is a local content creator, mom, photographer and branding expert who also has an online shop with clothing, accessories, and beautiful prints. A piece from her sunset series would be the perfect present for the beach lover on your list. And keep an eye out for her in-person pop-up shops!
- Lola’s on 30A is a coastal lifestyle shop offering home decor, gifts, jewelry, clothing, art and more. It is all decked out for the holiday season, so you’ll definitely be in a festive mood as you shop!
- Indigo. Owner Catherine Walega carefully curates her unique and fashion-forward inventory, which features women’s clothing, accessories and jewelry. Check it out in WaterColor on 30A.
- Linen & Sand is a lifestyle shop with a modern coastal bohemian spirit. Located in Seagrove Beach, it features artisan home goods, jewelry, apothecary items and more. Their collections are curated with a designer’s eye, bringing you finds from small studios across America and around the world. If you like neutral/beachy colors and natural fabrics/textures, you’re in the right place!
- Love & Grow Clothing Co. Shopping for your little ones? Love & Grow Clothing Co. offers unique, personally designed styles for every occasion. Their winter collection is filled with festive pieces!
- Crafted by Kaylee is a local paint and resin artist who creates charcuterie boards, coaster sets and seashell ornaments. Her beachy board is pictured above and would make a great hostess gift.
- Hawley Trucker Hat Bar. Based on 30A, this local company also offers an online option to customize trucker hats. Choose your color and patches for a one-of-a-kind gift!
- ALCO is a coastal-inspired lifestyle brand specializing in water resistant, tarnish resistant, and hypoallergenic jewelry. Choose between a variety of beautiful, everyday pieces and holiday gift collections. Order online or be on the lookout for a pop-up shop!
I think many people (myself included) forget that gifts don’t have to be a physical item. A gift certificate for a service your loved one may not normally treat themselves to makes a great present.
- Jamie Kamber Photography. I’m a Destin, Florida photographer and love working with families, couples and brands. If you are local or plan on visiting Destin, I offer gift certificates for sessions. Just contact me to inquire!
- Destin Blowout Bar. Whether you want beachy waves, glamorous curls or a beautiful updo, a visit to this dry hair styling salon will make your hair dreams come true. Services include a spa-inspired wash or dry-shampoo, scalp massage, and blow dry and can be supplemented with deep conditioning treatments and hot tool styling.
- Beachside Beauty. This team of beauty experts offers everything from facials and massages to nails and lashes. Plus it’s a beautiful environment for some relaxation and self care!
- 30Apron. Don’t feel like cooking? Let Traci of 30Apron do it for you! She’s an amazing private chef who offers in-home meals, drop-off meals, sunset picnic baskets and more culinary delights. Her boutique services and menus are designed just for you!
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with treats! This is also a great opportunity to support local restaurants by purchasing a gift card.
- Gift cards to a local restaurant. Some of my favorites are East Pass Coffee Co., The Local Market, Camille’s, Mimmo’s, Beignets & Brew, and Formula Fresh, but here is a full guide. to the best restaurants in town. A lot of these eateries also sell merchandise or smaller treats that could be given with the gift card to spice it up a bit.
- Pecan Jack’s has a delicious selection of pralines, candy, brittles, chocolates, toffees, ice cream and other sweets. They come beautifully wrapped and gift boxes and bundles are also available. I always give my mom an assortment of pralines for holidays!
- My Coastal Cookies creates custom cookies, but also has a Christmas sale going on. Treats in this collection include individual cookies, cookie platters, cookie decorating kits and more. I personally love the teacher gift options, which can be given with a gift card (she has Starbucks and Chick-fil-A themes). Pick-up is in Destin on December 9 and 16, 2023.
- What The Frost is owned by a local military wife who bakes amazing cookies, cakes and more. Her self-serve cart named “Goldie” is located in Niceville and is stocked with cinnamon rolls and other seasonal offerings. It’s only available once per month, so follow her on Instagram for updates! Stop by on November 22 or December 23 for holiday goodies!
- Swell Pops. These gourmet popsicles are hand crafted in Destin. You’ll see them at restaurants around town, but you can also purchase a variety pack to give as a gift. Their logo cooler includes a dozen popsicles, decorative confetti and dry ice. Available for local delivery or kitchen pick-up.
- Emerald Coast Olive Oil offers a variety of gift items including their high quality olive oils, aged vinegars, spices, jams, sauces and other gourmet specialties. You’ll also find home and kitchen accessories such as cutting boards, utensils, towels and more to create the perfect present. To make it even easier, they have gift boxes and collections. I gave my mother-in-law the mini six pack collection and she loved trying their best selling products.
- Lady Ray’s. Need to bring a sweet treat to your next holiday soiree? This Destin bakery specializes in baked goods and pastries!
- A hand-painted bottle of Champagne. Marilu Morgan turns bottles of Veuve Clicquot into a beautiful gift! Let her know what the gift recipient loves and she’ll create a custom design. Maybe it’s a holiday theme or it could reflect your travels together, a particular interest or just a pretty pattern!
- Palm Folly. Fill up a growler of hard seltzer and pair it with their cute merchandise! They have T-shirts, drinkware, hats and more. I love their branding and graphic design style, the items don’t look like a “souvenir.”
- 30A Distilling Co. crafts whiskey, bourbon, rum, and vodka from its Florida distillery. Their products are distinctly southern, produced locally in Santa Rosa Beach and inspired by the vibrant community of the Emerald Coast. Bring a bottle to your next gift exchange and it’ll be highly sought after!
- Local beer is always a good idea! Grayton Beer Company and Idyll Hounds can be picked up at most grocery stores around here or directly at the breweries.
- Gulf Water Wines. Bring the bubbles to your next holiday party with their premium prosecco! It’s available in many Walton County stores and restaurants and they also offer online ordering for local residents and visitors with free local delivery.
Along the same line of the above services, these companies can offer your loved ones an experience they won’t soon forget!
- Sandcastle building class with Dan in the Sand. These aren’t the basic sandcastles you made as a kid—they are beautiful masterpieces! Dan offers classes for groups of up to seven people, and specialty sculptures for any price range. He created the Christmas tree and snowman sculpture pictured above for one of my photography clients! It was the perfect backdrop for their holiday cards.
- Tickets to a festival. From food and wine to art and music, there are numerous festivals in Destin and on 30A throughout the year. Here are some of my favorites! Many can sell out, so purchase tickets now and get excited for a memorable experience!
- Luxury beach picnic or bonfire. If you want to enjoy a leisurely meal or roast s’mores with the beach as the backdrop, there are companies such as Serenity Picnic Company and 30A Blaze that can set up everything for you. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the experience with loved ones.
- Pasta or cocktail making class with Tipsy Mule.
- Boat ride. Whether you want to sail along the Emerald Coast, go on a dolphin tour, or cruise on a tiki bar to Crab Island, there are multiple ways to get out on the water.
- Emerald Coast Electric Bikes. Rent electric beach cruisers to explore the gorgeous beach communities along 30A. It’s the best way to explore the restaurants, shops and beaches these picturesque towns have to offer.
- Exercise class. As much as I love group fitness classes, such as yoga, pilates and Pure Barre, they can be pretty pricey. Treating your loved one to a gift certificate to their favorite workout spot would be much appreciated!
- Maxine Orange Splatter Studio. Fun for all ages! Everyone gets their own 9″ x 12″ canvas and they provide guidance, tools and paint to create your own unique piece of art. Before entering the room, you’ll gear up with ponchos, shower caps, shoe covers and goggles to protect your clothing. Then you can let loose and have some messy fun!
donate to a local charity
‘Tis the season for giving and there are so many wonderful organizations that could use your help. These are just a few of the amazing charities that serve our local community:
- Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill refuge that finds homes for once-abused, neglected and homeless animals. They are passionate about matching the perfect pet with loving owners. We adopted our dog, Emmy, from here six years ago!
- Caring and Sharing of South Walton provides crisis relief to families in need within our local community through financial assistance, food, counseling, and case management.
- Children’s Volunteer Health Network eliminates barriers to accessible and affordable healthcare for children in need through mobile solutions and community partnership.
- Food for Thought fights childhood hunger in Okaloosa and Walton Counties and is on a mission to bridge the meal gap in the lives of food insecure children and empower them to get the most out of their education.
- Emerald Coast Autism Center is a non-profit school and therapy center that improves the lives of individuals with autism and related unique abilities, and their families, by providing effective treatment and education options from early childhood into adulthood.
- Shelter House of Northwest Florida supports victims of domestic violence by providing shelter, intervention and primary prevention programs to the community through education, awareness and advocating for social change.
- Westonwood Ranch offers a unique learning curriculum to improve life skills and pre-vocational skills to young adults with developmental differences
Have any other Destin gift ideas? Let me know in the comments!